This adaptation of a very popular Israeli TV series and its American version (In Treatment), En thérapie plunges viewers into the world of Philippe, a psychotherapist who sees the same five patients every week in his office and tries to help them as best he can. TV5 broadcasts the show starring François Papineau in the leading role as well as Élise Guilbault, Isabelle Blais, Macha Limonchik, and Sébastien Ricard.
For the second season of the series, broadcast in 2014, the production company, Attraction Images, wanted to create a web site for En Thérapie that would allow viewers to explore and gain a better understanding of the process of constructing characters’ psychology.
Since the web site was an add-on to the TV series, the developers had to find a way to let viewers into the minds of the therapist and his patients. The team at Turbulent, the company selected to design the interactive experience, came up with an approach that reveals the layers in a person’s psychological make-up. This interactive project, titled En Parallèle, provides new encounters with the characters in the TV show.
“We probed every character to see how he or she took shape in the minds of the author, director, and actor,” explains Sophie Galipeau. So, when visitors to the web site pick a character, say Françoise, played by Élise Guilbault, they see this character seated on a couch. If users click on the director, Louis Bélanger, for example, he comes and sits next to Françoise and describes how he sees her. By way of providing background information, excerpts from the TV show in which she appears are available for viewing. As a bonus, a real-life psychologist provides an analysis of each character.
The result of this approach is a new way of exploring how TV shows are made. The teams at Turbulent and Attraction Images had a real technology challenge on their hands as they had to create credible interactions between the character on the couch and his or her counterpart, thereby giving online visitors the impression that an actual meeting between two people was taking place.
Louis Bélanger, who directed En Thérapie as well as films such as Gaz bar blues (2003) and Route 132 (2010), agreed to direct the web experience. It was a job made easier by the fact that he knew these characters very well. That is why he directed each of the interviews.
This exercise allows viewers to enter another person’s life and discover his or her psychological complexity through situations that occur in real life, including motherhood, death, disappointment, and separation.
This is a fascinating foray into the human psyche.